Crockpot and Memories

My mother was an excellent cook and we almost always had home cooked meals. I grew up in a multi-cultural home ( a very interesting mix and sometimes clash of culture of Black American, West Indian, and White). We were used to sharing food with our neighbors and friends, living in Filipino immigrant and predominantly Mexican neighborhoods. My mother made soul food, West Indian food, and classic American dishes. Even now, she can throw together Vietnamese soup or Pansit (a Filipino noodle dish). As a little girl I remember the wide array of dishes, from fried or baked chicken, chicken dumplings, curried goat, salt fish, pilau, beef stews, steaks, boiled crabs, fried fish, bbq ribs, and stir fries. I love cooking. So many of our family celebrations and gatherings involve cooking for birthdays, celebrations, and holidays. Sometimes the meals were impromptu, where my brother would go and pick out live crab from the Asian market and buy some steaks, potatoes, and salad from the grocery store. My brother is a good cook and outside of my grandmother, he makes the best fried chicken ever.

In addition to us both having a sweet tooth, my husband and I share eclectic pallets. And we get to indulge, living in a neighborhood full of wonderful halal restaurants specializing in food from Morocco, Senegal, Lebanon, and America. While the food is good, I find that home cooking is easier on the stomach, as well as the wallet. But sometimes I don’t feel like cooking, my body rebels and my mind shuts down the creative process necessary for composing a master piece. On those days, we can go to Saad’s, Kilimanjaro or Halal Bilal’s. It is tempting to eat out all the time, but I try not to. Since I started teaching full time in October, I don’t have much time to prepare the elaborate dishes I used to make during the week. But I still try to find time to squeeze in some home cooked food. Last year, one of my first friends in Philadelphia, Safiyyah, bought me and my husband a crock pot as a house warming gift. It has given us countless meals that have given us sustenance and comfort. Each time I make a meal using the crockpot, I think of my sister with gratitude. I just wanted to thank her publicly for her warmth, graciousness, and hospitality. Please make du’a for our sister who has helped me and so many others.

6 thoughts on “Crockpot and Memories

  1. Cooking and kinship. Simply beautiful.
    Yum. I hear that a crockpot is delicious for making steel cut oatmeal. You can cook it overnight.

    I’ve stopped eating out recently too- as to drop some weight my nutritionist recommended a menu where I eat small plates through out the day. Hard to do eating out : (
    I did manage a banging roasted eggplant and whole wheat penne dish last night.

    But about a month ago when I was in the city my father and I stopped at the Marakkesh Express on Chestnut. Their Tunisian Tuna sandwich was out of this world. Spicy, salty and delicious.


  2. We do overnight crockpot oatmeal during Ramadan. Is very nice with vanilla soymilk and makes such a good and easy suhoor.


  3. Good Morning All!
    Peace and Mercy be upon you,

    Margari,why do you gotta go makin’ everybody hugry like that!Hahaha

    Samira,great point!I’ve lost close to 40lbs. in the last 2-3 months by eating “when I’m hungry” OR a small amount when others invite me to eat with them(this is good manners,and part of Islam.When somebody offers food to us,often times it’s a crypto-call-for-help or companianship ☺).
    I’m also mixing up my diet with better foods,NOT fast food.Lots of fruits,veggies,and greens with a rekindled lifetime love:Excercise and Sports.Why can’t we get together after prayer at our respective masajid and do things like Yoga/Pilates,martial arts(Chinese Muslim XinYi stance/post training is one I’ve benefitted from),or a game of basketball.
    I’m tired of “NEEDING PERMISSION” for all of this!
    “A Crockpot,and Accompanying Cookbook Campaign” for every Muslim you can afford to buy one for in time,AND your non-Muslim

    (*wink,wink* What a “Da’wah Oppurtunity”-huh?!)

    May Allah Bless sister Saffiyah with excessive returns for what she did for you,Margari.
    It was for more than “just an appliance” wasn’t it?
    Imagine what buying a young person a nice set of clothes(of their choice,with a lil’ help-haha),or babysitting a neighbors kids-for free could do for US!People used to do these things for each other all the time in every culture. Now,we don’t even know our next door neighbor’s name.What a shame!

    Rooted On Clouds


  4. Bismillah

    as salamu ‘alaykum

    I grew up with mostly Mexican cooking at home. Delicious, traditional, Mexican food from Michoacan, Mexico. Enchiladas unlike the enchiladas from Mexican restaurants in America, with a vineger-sugar-onion mixture to fill them with and queso cotija (which I don’t know if there is a halal version to now), topped with cabbage and tomatoes and a homemade red salsa.

    In our home, my husband and I cook a variety of dishes. We love Indian so you’ll find a lot more Indian here. Yesterday, for dinner, we had Paneer Makhni. We’re hoping to start making our own paneer insha’Allah. A few days back we made cajun chili cheese etouffee with shrimp and baked lamb with a baste, with a pesto sauce inside. We’re trying to eat less meat now so we’re using a lot more vegetables, alhamdulillah.

    I didn’t like cooking when I first married my husband but he has taught me to enjoy cooking and I do enjoy trying new things. My mother could open up a restaurant masha’Allah… she loves cooking. You can actually tell when she hates it… her food is a little off (although still delicious and almost perfect mashaAllah). Something she told me that I remember often is that when you cook with love, the food will be lovely in every way. I do think this is true. Du’as over the food are longer when I enjoy the food I am making.

    Thank you for this sweet post. : )


  5. I am always on the lookout for new and wonderful recipes: some from the crockpot and some more elaborate. Would love to find new recipes. Thanks.


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